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students working on robotics project
Co-op & Experiential Learning

Combining rigorous academics with a variety of experiential learning opportunities

Northeastern’s approach to education combines rigorous academics with experiential learning anchored by our world-renowned cooperative education program. Experiential learning encompasses our co-op program as well as research, global experiences, service learning, and student organizations.

Cooperative Education

Co-op affords students the chance to work in engineering practice prior to graduation. Through this program, undergraduate and graduate students gain hands-on, professional experience as well as a chance to build personal connections and contacts within their field of interest. Undergraduate students typically work six months at a time doing two to three co-ops while a student. Graduate students can do an internship or a co-op. Their co-op is either 4-, 6-, or 8-months in length. Co-op placements are offered locally, nationally, and globally.

On co-op, students learn requisite skills that cannot be learned in a classroom, while a student and being paid. The co-op experience enables students to select a career path that is right for them, while giving them a competitive edge upon graduation. The level of responsibility a student has on co-op grows as their engineering and professional skills develop. With co-op, students may explore different types of companies and work environments, such as being employed at large or small companies, working in design, product development, test, or research.

Here is a sampling of co-op employers for electrical and computer engineering students:





Boston Red Sox


Harvard Medical School






Lockheed Martin

Massachusetts General Hospital


MIT Lincoln Lab









Barrett Technology: assembled, tested, and diagnosed problems on robotic hands using Visual C++.

Bose Corporation: Performed in-car temperature sensitivity of Bose digital amplifiers.

Cadence Design Systems: Created physical circuit layouts for a random access memory chip, performed design verification using Verilog.EMC Corporation: developed programming interfaces and bring-up tests for prototype storage adapter boards. Harvard Medical School: Investigated an ultrasound hyperthermia therapy for treating cancerous tumors.

Mitre Corporation: Designed and constructed a crisis management website to be used by U.S. Army National Guard first responders during crisis situations.Sun Microsystems: Supported the board design team by breadboarding the Power Distribution Board circuitry to determine functionality and reliability.

Sybase Inc: Developed a plug-in for Ardent Datastage product using ODBC and Sybase Open Client/Open Server.

Student Areas of Expertise

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering spans all sub-disciplines of electrical and computer engineering. We encompass robotics (from control systems to embedded systems), the IoT (from networking and communications to computer systems and architectures to security) and Big Data (from machine learning to signal processing to enabling technologies for data centers). We have strength in devices and microelectronics, RF/microwave materials, and power electronics and systems.

Employer Benefits

  • A simple, cost-effective way to meet hiring needs: no fringe benefits, no recruitment costs. Co-op students are paid as temporary hourly employees.
  • Support your engineering team with capable engineering students.
    Six-month co-op periods allow students to work on long term projects and make significant contributions to the workplace.
  • The ability to schedule back-to-back co-op periods for full-time coverage or select six-month periods for busy times.
  • Potential pipeline for future full-time hires and industry leaders.
    Students offer an enthusiastic, fresh perspective and up-to-date technical knowledge and skills.

Learn More and Post a Job

“The student is a very intelligent and highly driven individual who took full advantage of the learning opportunities during his time with us. We were very impressed with the results he produced.”

—Dell EMC Corporation


“My co-op student is a very bright young engineer with a great attitude. She was a great asset to my team here at Raytheon in the MET department. She is very mature, can work independently, and is a great team player. I look forward having her work here again as a co-op or possible new hire.”

—Raytheon Integrated Defense System


“Student demonstrated exceptional curiosity and passion for robotics. He resurrected some robots that were just gathering dust and was able to get them fully functional and performed some experiments with them. He was outstanding! He worked on many projects and his contributions will benefit the department after he’s gone.”



“Co-op student is a very fast learner who efficiently carries out her job functions. She had the desire to learn the other aspects to the Safety Groups functions and was able to assist the engineers and technicians with general safety testing.”

—Bose Corporation

Getting a Competitive Edge on Co-op

Noah Lichtenstein, BS, computer engineering and computer science, says the integrated way of learning and experience with co-op will allow him to jump in to a job when he graduates. So far he’s had a co-op at Starry, an internet startup, and Amazon Robotics as a firmware engineer, and feels this experience will give him a decent leg up.

Three Co-ops, Three Different Experiences

Sofia Vanessa Benitez Quevedo, BS, electrical engineering, completed three co-ops near and far including iRobot as a systems engineer, Flex in California working on emerging tech on the internet of things, and Starry, a start up in Boston using cutting-edge technology for the next generation.

Student Research

As an R1 research university, Northeastern offers all students—undergraduate, masters, and PhD—opportunity to participate in a wide range of interdisciplinary research projects, and offers resources and support to encourage innovation. Students can work with faculty in their labs, as part of research centers, on co-op, or conduct individual research. Students can also present their research at university events, professional society and association conferences, and participate in regional, national and global competitions.

View engineering faculty profiles for research focus areas and lab information.

Featured Experiences

students sitting on table in a row each folding parts of wireless devices such as a roll of wire

Student Organizations

The Northeastern University Wireless Club is an electronics experimentation club, where students from all disciplines can meet to work on projects and learn electronics through hands-on application. Students can also participate in service learning such as teaching robotics to middle school children in the Boston community.

group photo of students in Chili with background of the country

Global Experiences

Students traveled to Chili for a Dialogue of Civilizations course over the summer led by ECE Professor Chuck DiMarzio where they learned about biomedical imaging as well as financial, political, cultural, and social issues in another country.

Student Experiences

A Pioneering Invention on Co-op

Like many, Grace Carroll, BS, Computer Engineering 2020, came to Northeastern for its renowned co-op program. “I learn a lot better doing things hands-on than just in the classroom,” Carroll said. “The fact that they schedule [co-op] into your degree for you to go learn hands-on—I really thought that was a big difference between Northeastern […]

Dell EMC Co-op Leads to Patent

PhD Computer Engineering student Yifan Sun has been awarded a US patent while completing his co-op at EMC. This patent is 1 of 5 patent applications that have been submitted by Dell EMC listing Sun as a co-inventor.  Yifan Sun is a member of the Northeastern University Computer Architecture Laboratory. A student went off to […]

Co-ops Lead to Start Ups

Alisa Jin, BS Electrical and Computer Engineering, helped to build a drone that flies like a kite. Alex Dye, BS Mechanical Engineering 2020, helped to design the prototype of a robot that injects medicine into the eyes of patients with severe vision problems. They are both Northeastern students, and they say that working on co-op […]

Co-op Leads to Dream Job

Nicolas Binford, BS Computer Engineering 2018, landed his dream job one month after he graduated from Northeastern in May—and he credited his co-op experience with helping him get it. Binford works at Avira, a software security company, where he helps to recruit clients and write software for them. “One of the first things my manager […]